tv [untitled] March 29, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
it doesn't. there are 29 states that have constitutional amendments that say that i can't marry my partner, right? so we have to get rid of doma. but we have to make progress in the states. we have to fight off more constitutional amendments that are headed our way. and we have to overturn those that already exist. and at the same time, as fighting the federal doma, overturning things in the states, as i said before, we've got a lot of legal cases going. and i think sometimes people say, well, sure there's going to be a silver bullet. one of these cases will go through and wipe the whole thing out. that would be nice, but i don't see it happening that way. the way i see it, it's like an arcade. have you been to an arcade and there's that pony game, and you're throwing bean bags and your pony is first, and then the next pony? all of those ponies are moving -- all of those horses are running to the finish line of marriage equality and we will get there, but we have to get every single horse across the
finish line, and we need your help to do it. but as arlene spoke earlier during a luncheon, our fates are tied together, particularly on ballot measures. we've just heard, just two sets about measures. we're not even talking about anti affirmative action. if you do an overlay of the country, you will see very clearly how our fates are interbetweened. so we must show up for each other. it's why the task force in 2011, we sent our organizers not just to alaska, where in just a few short days we're facing a ballot measure on nondiscrimination, but we also sent our staff to mississippi to work on the personhood measure. we sent our staff to maine, to secure the vote for people in maine. and we sent our staff to build a base of anti death penalty voters for a future fight in california. all of those issues affect
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. they are ouri issues. so i invite each of you in 2012, pick something that doesn't necessarily have to do with your life, with your family's life, and show up. write a check. participate in a phone bank. volunteer for a campaign. reach out and bring someone with you. and next time, ask them to come and work on something that does affect your life directly. i believe we will make a difference. second, i want to talk about love. i may -- i am definitely a half glass full girl. and i do believe that love will win out. and at the heart of the lgbt movement is love. started thousands of years ago. but more recently at the stone wall inn in new york city where a bunch of drag queens and gay men, sissy boys and people of color said enough.
we will love who we want to love, and we will fight for it. and i believe that love will win out. and i have great hope for this in the future of love. and the future of our ability to marry each other. in states like maine, where we can make history this year, where they are putting the first proactive marriage measure on the ballot, and we need all of your help to win, this will make history. it will be the first time we've ever won on a proactive marriage ballot measure. i hope in the future, particularly because of children, we have a young daughter, elementary school, when margaret and i got married -- a thousand other people in california in 2008, we went out to california. our daughter came with us. she was telling her friends, and we prepared her for what her friends might say. because we didn't know, right? two women getting married. and it was fascinating. because first of all, they
already thought we were married. we have a house, a kid, we even have a dog. we drop her off at school each day, sometimes we forget her lunch, we've got to run it over. like, we were married to these elementary school children. and when they found out that we had to get married, many of them congratulated us and the only negative comment was from one of our daughter's friends who is very jealous that she got to be a flower girl and that was it. that was it. but i'm reminded we have a long way to go. because at the same time, driving through virginia, my daughter and i, she says to me, "can people get married in this state?" and i really didn't know how to answer. because i don't think that any child in this country should have to ask if her parents can get married. that should not be a question on the lips of any child in this country.
and to the high school students in this room, i promise you. we are doing everything we possibly can, so that this will not be your fight when you are 45 years old like i am. you will be fighting for something else, and we will stand with you. but we will not have marriage be your fight. i promise you. and finally, our voice. this has been touched on a number of times today. but we must make our voices heard. and right now, we are facing a huge threat in voter is up regulation. i know i'm supposed to talk about marriage, but i but i need to push the envelope a little bit. literally out of the jim crow
playbook, some of the stuff going on. we have to fight voter suppression. and if you look at where our ballot measures overlap in states across the country, guess where we're seeing ballot measures? is in all of the states where issues are at play. what is true is that it used to be possible to mobilize the right wing base on hating the guys, anti woman ballot measures, anti immigration ballot measures, anti affirmative action ballot measures. and what's happening in this country is that no one of those are their trump cards anymore. they are losing. they are losing, they are losing. and so what do they do? they have to go deeper than that. they have to strike at the very ability for us to cast our vote. that is offensive, it is anti democratic, and we must stop this threat to democracy in our country or none of us are going to win.
i believe that we can stand together. and because i've seen it before. again and again. many of you have shown up for us and our families and i will show up for you. i promise. we will continue to do that. but we have to stand together. there are far too many forces at play to tear us apart. so let's stand together, let us save this democracy and let our voices be heard. thank you. i'm hoping we have time for some q & a now. so we have some mics. i believe -- help me point them out. they're on some tables or -- oh, yes, the people who are lining up. oh, yes. please, go ahead, while we have our wonderful panelists. >> okay, hi, everyone. my name is melanie keller and
i'm part of the unite women team, the maryland state chapter. so if everyone could come out and rally with us on april 28th in every state. and i just have a question. maryland is a pretty blue state. and looking at the congressional voting records that were passed out the previous forum, you can see that senator barbara mikulski has 100% record on those measures that are listed. so i just have a question specifically for megan darby of planned parenthood. with everything that's going on in states like oregon, montana, texas, with the ultra -- or the transvaginal ultrasound bill, what can states like maryland do? what can voters and residents do to help out from the sidelines, i guess? is because it's easy for of us to sit back and rest on our laurels, because in our state, things are relatively okay. >> that's a great question.
so sorry. so i guess the first thing they tell you is, you know, educate. and talk about it. that is the most powerful thing you can do. to go back to mississippi, we are very fortunate that not only it picked up steam nationally, because people were outraged and they knew about the issue and talked about it. i mean, i could tell you, facebook feeds were just full of talk about mississippi. and that's how really it gets the ball rolling. and that really could help. i also would say donate. because everything -- this is expensive fights everywhere. and i would also say, you know, locate the people that you think are working on the issue and call them and say what can i do? can it be a house party? can we have a phone into texas day? whatever you can do. but number one, talk about it and make sure people know about it. because a lot of times, they don't. >> could i -- >> please. >> weigh in on that? i think we kind of heard that
from the mom. that there's -- you could do a lot with the internet now. because you can talk to people all over the country, just by using the internet. i know -- i'm from maryland too. and we send people to pennsylvania, to virginia, to do labor walks. so when we -- we know there are problems in those states. so maybe even doing labor walks in states where you know you have a -- you have a problem. >> i also want to throw the feminist majority foundation's two cents in here. i am one of the campus directors for the choice is campus leadership program. and this election year, we're putting a call out to all college students, recent high school graduates. if you feel like interng with us or planned parenthood or the national gay and lesbian task force, we are going to be active especially battling these initiatives. colorado, california, all across the country.
if you want to intern with us and take a semester off from school this fall and have the experience of a lifetime, we do encourage you. and i'm happy to speak to you after this plenary session. or go to maine and work on passing theirs. in addition to the world of cyberspace, which can sort of put you everywhere now. thank you. anyone else? oh, sorry, yes. >> i actually do not have so much as a question, but a comment. i want to thank you, rae, you're the first person to see transgender today. so i want to thank you for coming out and saying the word transgendered, getting the notoriety other than lgbt. so thank you. >> i'm going to say transgender, so i become the second person. transgender. yes. >> hi. my name is kinita. and i'm with united women here in the state of -- no.
we don't have a state. so i am -- i am representing the dmv, the greater dc and metropolitan area. one of the things that i'd like to bring to the attention, when we talk about women being disproportionately affected, whenever we say that women are disproportionately affected, you can double that number when you talk about minority women being disproportionately affected. and one of the things i would like to say, i find that it's -- i don't have -- maybe i don't have the tools. but i find it a little difficult to gavelnize that minority voice and bring it into the greater fold at times. if you're in, for instance, seattle, washington, someone in your group should be speaking -- there is a large sew molly population there. latino, someone should be
speaking spanish. i wanted to say to the greater group, and i've said to my group, if your group looks just like you, maybe only you live in your neighborhood, but i doubt it. so there needs to be a greater outreach. and i'd like to also know how or find out how through the different consortium of organizations. maybe classes about how to reach across sometimes cultural borders or boundaries. so that we understand each other. so that we are able to communicate well and address each other's needs. >> i -- do any of the panelists want to respond to that, or should we move on? okay. >> virginia armstrong. president of the league of women voters of south hampton roads,
virginia. i have one comment and one question. for the woman from maryland who assistant doesn't have any particular needs related to maryland, please come to virginia. we are in one hell of a mess. secondly, with the league of women voters, we especially want to focus on voter suppression. and do you have any specifics for us that would be helpful? >> a couple of things. unfortunately, there are so many choices. to get active. and i think naacp has done so much work on this. both on their own website, in other arenas in identifying which states are experiencing voter suppression laws now. the opposition thinks we're going to be asleep in 2013.
so we think 2012 is bad. just wait until 2013. so what i would encourage you to do is, you know, google voter is up regulation or naacp voter suppression. look in the states, and in many states they're starting to ramp up campaigns. or the local naacp chapters may start doing some activities. but there are a number of organizations starting to do those. and a lot of us are trying to also kind of in the midst of ballot measures that are specific to some issues, reach out to people who are interested in voter suppression to make sure that we're partnering together as we work on these. because we know we're going to have to turn around and fight. so look for campaigns in your local areas. >> all right. thank you. >> peg. >> i just wanted to say, i've been doing this 25 years. and suddenly, i realize, what we have to do. we are -- women -- there are a lot of us. money, some of us have it.
the power the men all have. we have got to take over their offices. we have got to run for [ expletive ] senate and house of representatives. and i say that word all the time. i hope no one is offended. and you've got to do it in the states too, with so much of this. we have to do it. otherwise, 25 years from now -- i will not be here. i promise. we're going to be saying the same thing. >> thank you. that's a freight great note to end on. i think we need to flood the ticket and hopefully everyone will consider running for office or help support an excellent woman for public office. thank you. and we're on to our next plenary -- concluding plenary session. >> do i hear a peg yorken for senate campaign? >> thank you. i'm sorry.
we're going to go right on, because we're -- dhabi debby walsh is -- the reason we're moving so fast, we are on c-span live, and we wanted to keep the ball rolling. so i feel like everybody should get up and stretch after all that. but i want to give a big hand to this panel, ballot initiatives. you see we have our work cut out for us. anyway, we want to get going on to the second one. and is we have a central question for this one. and the central question is, are we at another anita hill moment. and just -- debby walsh is going to set the stage, so i'm going to move right to her. the center for american women
and politics, the eaglelton institute of records university. if you are not familiar with their website, please go to it. it is cawp.org. okay. i missed it. on my little ipad, all i have to do is put in c-a-w-p and i get there. google is awful smart. but anyway, it's cawp.records.edu. basically, it is a marvelous, marvelous instrument. it has all the facts, really, about women in office. it tells you how many women are in the state legislatures. who they are. it tells you by state. it does all the appointive offices. it does it by state. it does the congress. it does the history of all the
women in congress. i could go on. it is a bible. one of the reasons we wanted debby walsh, who is the executive director, to come forth is because she can better probably than anybody set the stage of how do we get from 17%, or as peg yorken said, how do we get more women in power and stop this constant discussion of how we fight off going forth one step, coming backwards another step. as we keep on doing for nearly 40 years. so i want you to set the stage. i want to commend the center for american women in it politics, and the eagleton institute. eagleton institute is headed by ruth van dell, who is an absolute treasure for the women's movement. but also for the united states. because they feature local and
state politics, which are so often overlooked. but if we're going to do this, we have to be at all so, please, set the stage and keep us running on time. >> that's a tall order. keep us running on time. ellie, i want to thank you and i want to thank alice and cathy for having me here. we were really lucky. just a couple of years ago, we brought ellie to rutgers university and we gave her an honorary degree and she was the commencement speaker. we're delighted to count ellie as an alum of rutgers university. thank you. i want to just talk about the numbers of women who are in office and running for office. as ellie said, we keep track of all of these and monitor the trends for women and office. and pre-1992, we saw this slow, steady growth for women in
elected office. and we used to bemoan that because we would only go up about a percentage point or so every election cycle when it came to women in state legislatures and very little in congressional cycle. and then came 1992. and we've all been talking about this. it's 20 years ago and we saw a year of redistricting. we saw a year where there were record numbers of open seats and we saw a year where there was a cat li moment. i know that many of you in this room remember that weekend where we all sat and watched all weekend long never leaving our tv sets as we watched anita hill facing down that all-male, all-white senate judiciary committee. and we all had that moment of these guys don't get it. where are the women? as a result of that year, when
we had record numbers of open seats, we had what was then called the year of the woman. and, unfortunately, that's sort of been the last year that we had. so in that year, we saw 24 new women elected to congress. we had never seen anything like that before, and we have never, i'm sad to say, seen anything like it since. we saw women run, at that point, for 39 open seats. that's the most open seats that women have ever run for at one time in the general election. so kind of keep that number in the back of your head. open seats are critical. open seats are where you make change. when the incumbent is out. incumbents win 95% of the time. so it's critical that we find women to run in those open seats. so after 1992 when we saw this spike, ever since then, we have been basically flat lining at the state legislative level.
we have seen almost no increase in the number of women who are running for state legislatures. and relatively no increase in the number of women serving in state legislatures from about 1994 until now, we've depone fr gone from about 22% to 24 neolyte. i love this pin of 17%. it's a real reminder. what happens out there is we see these big, famous names. you see nancy pelosi and you see hillary clinton and you see michelle bachman and people think it's mission accomplished. there are women everywhere. there are plenty of them. but the reality is we're talking about 17% in congress. 24% in state legislatures. of all of the governors in this country, only 6 women. and that's down from the record. we've been going down in statewide elective office consistently. so we see this kind of flat lining.
and we all sort of moan what can we do? and we looked at the year 2012. and we said this is another year of opportunity. and we thought about this at the center and with our partner, mary hughs out in california a while ago and we've been working on something called the 2012 project to take advantage of 201. let's look at this year. it's redistricting year. every congressional district redrawn, creating new open seats, making incumbents a little less entrenched, more retirements than we normally see. so we see some similarities there. it's also a presidential election year. that we only get every 20 years, redistricting every ten. and in presidential election years, we see more voters and
voters that are less tied to their party. they're what we call occasional voters. they don't vote that kind of straight party line. it looks like a little bit of a benefit for newcomers. unfortunately, women are still newcomers. what we have been doing is going out around the country trying to engage and inspire more women to run in 2012. but what we were missing, in this cycle, and what we had in 1992 was that galvanizing moment. and i think that's a little of what we have started to see now. and we have to keep it going. right? we saw what happened when women came before -- oh, when women tried to speak at the house hearings. and women's access to health care was being restricted. women's access to contraception being restricted. and it's making people mad. and what i'm loving and i don't know if all of you are following this, i certainly am. what's happening in state
legislature's across the country. so we are seeing all around the country not just the horrible legislation, but we're seeing women legislators using the platform that they have to speak out. so i want to read you just a couple of the pieces of -- if you can hand me that for a second? we've got some great legislation that women are putting forward around the country. and it's not that they expect it necessarily to pass. but they want to really show what's going on and use their voice. and this is why we need more women in office. so in virginia, senator janet howell proposed legislation mandating rectal exams and cardiac stress tests for men seeking erectile dysfunction meds. [ applause ] >> in georgia, we saw
representative yasmin neil who wrote a bill out lining most vasectomies because they leave thousands of children deprived of birth. [ applause ] >> in ohio, senator nina turner would compel men to get psychological screenings before getting prescriptions for impotence meds. and i'm quoting her now. we must advocate for the traditional family, turner said. and ensure that all men using pde inhibitors are healthy, stable and educated about their options, including celibacy as a viable life choice. [ applause ] >> in illinois, senator -- i'm sorry, in illinois, state representative kell day cassidy proposed requiring men seeking viagra to watch a video showing the treatment for persistent erections, an occasion side
effect of the little blue pill. as she explained, it's not a pretty procedure to watch. so this is happening around the country in response to this. and this is just, i think, another example of the anger that we are seeing out there. and so we really have to work to kind of galvanize around this issue and not let it pass and not let it go. and i think there's some good news about the numbers as we move forward. now, so far, 24 states have had their filing deadline. so these numbers are still very preliminary. there 26 states, 27 states left to go here. and so we need to make sure that we're monitoring this. but, right now, we have 37 women who are filing or planning to file for the united states senate. [ applause ] >> now, i want to say the record
was set back in 2010 with 36. if all of these women file, we will have beaten the record, but only by one. but at this point in the cycle, with about the same number of states filing in '08, we had 11 women. and in 2010, we had 28 women. so we are ahead of the game at the u.s. senate level. but here's where i think it really -- we really want to watch this is in the united states house. right now, we have a total of 270 women who are considering filing or have filed for the united states house of representatives. at this point back in 2010, we had 227 women. and in 2008, we had 184. the ultimate record was set in 2010 with 262 women. but we're, again, ahead of the game. but we are really ahead of the game in what i consider the most important kind of race that women can be in. and, again, that g b